78% of Schools in NCATE Review Receive Accreditation

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Slightly more than three-fourths of the teacher education institutions that underwent the latest national review have been approved, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education announced last week.

Forty-four of the 56 schools evaluated were granted accreditation.

One of the institutions approved, Central Washington University, had lost its state certification less than two years ago.

Five institutions were accredited with stipulations, and eight were rejected. The numbers do not add up because NCATE separately evaluates basic and advanced studies at the same institutions.

Since 1988, when NCATE strengthened its standards, 73 percent of the teacher education institutions that have applied for accreditation have been approved.

The site visits for the most recent round of NCATE decisions were conducted last fall.

Adrift School Turns Around

Among the success stories in this round was Central Washington, located in Ellensburg and the state's largest producer of teachers.

After being alerted to problems by NCATE, the state board of education in September 1991 put the school on probation. The action threatened to cut off the incoming supply of aspiring teachers.

By December, the institution had improved enough to have its state certification reinstated. (See Education Week, Dec. 11, 1991.)

In addition, university officials have implemented other major changes since then to prepare for the NCATE review.

For example, the teacher preparation program, elements of which had drifted over the years to various parts of the university, was placed in a newly created Center for the Preparation of School Personnel made up of faculty from 20 academic departments in the arts and sciences and professional studies.

"The intent was to draw together all those elements and build a more comprehensive knowledge base,'' said Linda B. Murphy, the dean of the school of professional studies.

"This plan, which was initiated by being jolted by NCATE, probably is one of the good outcomes'' of the earlier rejections, Ms. Murphy said. "We have an organization that is going to continue to move in ways that we couldn't have dreamed of before.''

Standards Questioned

The accrediting agency identified four of the eight institutions that were denied accreditation. They were Morgan State University in Baltimore; Tennessee State University in Nashville; Anderson University in Anderson, Ind.; and the advanced-studies program at Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee.

The names of the four other rejected institutions were withheld because they were seeking accreditation for the first time.

Officials at Cardinal Stritch, whose basic studies were accredited with stipulations, raised questions about the criteria used in the evaluations.

While crediting the site team with following the process fairly, Marna E. Boyle, the vice president for academic affairs, asked whether the same standards should be used to judge large research institutions and small colleges whose mission is to prepare teachers and work with local schools.

For example, she said, Cardinal Stritch considers it a positive factor that faculty members teach both graduate and undergraduate students. But that violates the teaching-load limit of nine credit hours NCATE places on advanced studies, she said.

Anderson officials said they were eager to try again.

"As quickly as we can get this set up, we're going to request another team,'' said E. Darlene Miller, the dean of the school of social and professional studies.

Officials at Morgan State had no comment, and Tennessee State did not return telephone calls.

Vol. 12, Issue 34

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